Influence of various DEM shape representation methods on packing and shearing of granular assemblies

Behzad Soltanbeigi, Alexander Podlozhnyuk, Christoph Kloss, Stefan Pirker, Jin Ooi, Stefanos Papanicolopulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Realistic yet efficient representation of particle shape is a major challenge for the Discrete Element Method. This paper uses angle-of-repose and direct-shear test simulations to describe the influence of several shape representation methods, and their parameters, on the bulk response of granular assemblies. Three rolling resistance models, with varying coefficient of rolling friction, are considered for spherical particles. For non-spherical particles, superquadrics with varying blockiness and multi-spheres with varying bumpiness are used to model cuboids and cylinders of several aspect ratios.
We present extensive quantitative results showing how the various ways used to represent shape affect the bulk response, allowing comparisons between different approaches. Simulations of angle-of-repose tests show that all three rolling friction models can model the avalanching characteristics of
cube/cuboid and cylindrical particles. Simulations of directshear tests suggest that both the shear strength and the dilative response of the considered non-spherical particles (but not their porosity) can only be predicted by the elasto-plastic rolling resistance model. The quantitative nature of the results allows identifying values of the shape-description parameters that can be used to obtain similar results when using alternative shape representation methods.
Original languageEnglish
Article number26
Number of pages16
JournalGranular Matter
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • DEM
  • multi-sphere
  • superquadratics
  • Rolling resistance model
  • direct shear
  • angle of repose


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